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Between a rock and a hard place?

March 22nd, 2015 at 02:44 pm

I'm taking a break from family issues today.

I took a short (half hour) walk on some town pathways. It is still pretty brisk for March and on the cold side, so I didn't dawdle!

I tried another new recipe I'd been wanting to try for the longest time, and it is definitely a keeper! It's sweet potatoes filled with an African-style peanut sauce. This would be the perfect thing to make for someone who believes that vegan food is bland and boring.

The sauce you pour into the roasted sweet potatoes is made of minced and sauteed garlic and onion, tomato sauce, fresh grated ginger, peanut butter, coriander, cumin and topped with chopped cilantro. All I can say is wow, how tasty. I cooked up 3 pounds of sweet potatoes for this, so I can bring them to work as one of my side dishes.

Being on something of a peanut butter kick today, I also made some peanut butter squares topped with melted dark chocolate chips. I probably won't make this one again but it does satisfy my peanut butter craving.

I also made time to do continue reading "Becoming Vegan."

I've also had some discussion today with the 1st mason to give me an estimate on redoing my front walkway. This is a major job..get ready...his bid came in at $12,767. I was hoping for no more than $10K.) This is why I skip, as much as humanly possible, wasting money on little doodads for the house, eating out a lot or on other stuff I don't really need, so that when it comes to capital improvements, I can do them. Not that I couldn't do a lot better at not wasting money on small stuff, but anyway that's another conversation....

The job entails creating an entirely new walkway leading from the driveway to my front door and would replace the set of 5 or 6 steep steps now leading to that same front door.

Because I've got a hill in front of my entry, making less steep stairs means starting the stairs further away so they can gently curve up the hill. There would in fact be a total of 16 steps instead of 6, and that is one thing I emailed him about after our conversation, cus I want to strike a balance between not having really steep stairs and having too many more shallow stairs. I'm wondering if 16 stairs is too much.

He would use pavers on the stairs with stone retaining walls (24 inches high) on either side to hold them in place. The entire length of the walkway he calculates at 48 feet, to give you an idea of the scale of this project. A new, slightly larger landing of about 8 x 8 would go in at the top in a half circle shape with concentric circles of pavers filling up the half circle. There are some other details associated with the job, but this is the gist of it.

His materials list shows that he needs 22 tons of bulk stone; that alone accounts for $3,080, along with 300 square fee tof pavers at $2.55 per square foot, 35 bags of cement, 5 tons of trap rock and so on.

it kind of boggles my mind that so much is needed. Here are some photos of the area in question.


This shows a portion of the existing retaining wall that runs parallel to my driveway; the stairs now leading to the front entry are to the left side of photo and are perpendicular coming up from the drive. The bottom of the new stairway would begin toward the end of this stone wall, and this stone wall would be repaired/recemented to stabilize it.


This is an older photo of the house before I got vinyl siding, but the existing staircase runs up between those 2 large round shrubs.




Here you get a good idea of the length of the entire retaining wall and a glimpse of current steps.


I plan to still get 2 other estimates before deciding what to do.

6 Responses to “Between a rock and a hard place?”

  1. Carol Says:

    How nice the new siding looks!
    Can he give you an idea of the rise of each of the shallow steps? Your plan sounds really handsome, but I agree shallow is better than steep, but too shallow is hard to walk.

  2. chloe Says:

    Your landscaping is beautiful! Are you still waiting on an estimate from the other mason?

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    That's very true, Carol. He's planning on 7 inch risers. The stairs I have now are between 8 and 8.5 inches.

    Chloe, thanks...it's a jungle here. That fuchsia-colored azalea you see will have to be sacrificed during this redesign as it's too big for me to dig out. The other mason was supposed to be here this past Friday but due to some snow i didn't want him driving in, we rescheduled for this Thursday night.

  4. Kiki Says:

    What a gorgeous house!

  5. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Lovely property Smile

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    African peanut-yam stew is SO delicious. AS doesn't care much for African (or Indian or Middle Eastern, for that matter) flavor profiles, so I rarely cook it or eat it. When NT and I are on our own for a meal for whatever reason, we'll usually have one of these cuisines, whether cooking it ourselves or going out to eat. I wish I had it more often but it's not practical since AS has trouble eating stuff that she doesn't like. (I guess I'm the same way but there are fewer things I don't like).

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